It’s an eye-watering, tastebud-tingling, crying shame that we don’t treat mustard better. A cracking condiment it may be, but mention mustard and most people’s minds will jump straight to the tasteless, bright yellow American stuff, with its squeezy bottles and hot dog history.
"Mention mustard and most people’s minds will jump straight to the tasteless, bright yellow American stuff..."
No more. We’d argue that this most gentlemanly of condiments — sit down, Gentleman’s Relish — deserves a renaissance, and we’re here to spread the good word.
Who better than London icons of food, Fortnum & Mason, to wholeheartedly champion wholegrain and hot? We spoke to Lucy Williams, of the Piccadilly-based brand, asked her our most burning condiment questions and took her suggestions for the best mustards money can buy.
Just what makes mustard so good?
It’s the hottest condiment around. More taken by Tabasco? Or a wasabi man? You’re doing it wrong. Mustard adds texture, flavour and interest to everything it accompanies — as well as offering a serious kick.
“Being an infinitely versatile condiment, there is an abundance of flavours to choose from,” says Williams. “Not to mention a multitude of applications: from adding heat to a sandwich, flavour to a cheese sauce or providing a little something extra in a casserole. Great mustard can accompany almost everything!”
What different types of mustard are there, and how do we choose?
From Dijon to French, through wholegrain, spicy and the strange-but-scrumptious hybrid of mustard mayo, there’s a huge range of mustards — many, many more varieties than any other savoury condiment can offer. So, if you’re having difficulty judging which jar is for you, why not try a range?
“All mustards have different flavour profiles that can be enjoyed with different food,” advises Williams. “The flavour, texture and heat are all dependent upon seed type, grind and maturation time and the diverse varieties that we stock here at Fortnum & Mason are all suited to different occasions and food pairings.”
Fortnum’s Shropshire Honey Mustard
Maille Tarragon & White Wine Mustard
Tiptree Chilli Mustard
So how should we be using mustard? What does it pair best with?
“A key tip for picking a mustard pairing for your meal,” says Williams, “is to remember that a great mustard should always enhance the food with which it is served, rather than overpower it.”
We couldn’t agree more. And, even though you’d be hard-pushed to beat the iconic pairing of English mustard and roast beef — our mouths are watering just thinking about it — this is a condiment that has prospects beyond your Sunday dinner.
“Especially delicious, I would recommend Fortnum & Mason’s Piccadilly Wholegrain Mustard on top of Welsh Rarebit,” suggests Williams. “Or, for something extra special, top your burger with our Hereford Mustard — which combines mustard with fiery horseradish.”
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